Warming those winter garden vistas with some bursts of festive colour.
We all know the colours and the coldness of winter when it comes to gardening. Many of us regard it as a season reserved only for planning the dawning of spring when luscious life can return to our outside spaces.
And yet, winter can be about much more than greens, browns and greys where gardens are concerned.
Certainly, with the use of berry-producing trees and plants, your outside space can quickly adopt all the sprigs and sprays of summer. Those showcasing winter berries are easy to grow, hardy and resilient. More than that, they attract birds to your garden at a time when seeing wildlife can sometimes feel like an unexpected treat.
With that in mind then, here are some plants that will help keep things lively:
Don’t be deceived by the name, this shrub is very much a winter dweller, and boasts red or yellow berries that will keep birds in your garden even when the frost descends. The Cotoneaster does have a reputation for spreading fast, not so much because it’s a back garden bully that can’t be trusted; more by way of birds scattering the seed all around. If you can deal with little pockets of colour popping up – and why shouldn’t you? – then this is a beautiful plant for weary winter wonderlands.
In white, pink, yellow, red, blue and quite the most stunning copper tones, the berries from this deciduous tree will bring breathless colour to even the darkest corner. With over 100 species of tree and shrub making up the family, you won’t be short of choice or subtlety, with each growing to around six metres tall, and lasting for between 10-20 years.
A Christmas favourite, holly combines a burning red berry with that intensely detailed, beautifully curated leaf, using a combination of greens that offset its radiant bedfellow with a flourish of frosty finesse. Perhaps the most resplendent winter berry that we know, though for all its festive connotations, it’s sure to stick around for many months of magic.
This shrub has purple jewellike berries that look as if they’ve come straight from a safe deposit box in Hatton Garden. An intensely rich shade, the plant goes into overdrive in autumn and winter, progressing from small pink flowers in midsummer to an exaggerated and extroverted array of striking, violet, bead-like berries as the months flick by. Thus, the Callicarpa is guaranteed to offer colour to even the gloomiest garden.
In its prime between the months of December to April, just when you think the golden pink buds of this characterful plant can’t offer anything more, the ends burst open offering a spray of white flowers. One of the first risers for spring’s sumptuous season of colour, the Viburnum Tinus will soar in prominences just as the temperatures begin to do likewise, lifting your outside space into sparkling spring finesse. And if the beauty of the winter rebels wasn’t a pleasure enough to see, the range of birds they will attract to your garden will only serve to delight you further.